Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
There are some actors who can elevate a mediocre movie to great heights just on the strength of their craft. And there are some who will plunge their films into further depths of mediocrity. Pradeep Sarkar’s “Lafangey Parindey” falls in the second category.
If last week’s “Peepli (Live)” was the best cast film of 2010, this one is definitely a candidate for worst cast ever. Deepika Padukone and Neil Nitin Mukesh do not look remotely convincing in their characters, speaking Mumbai’s “tapori” language with as much panache as a penthouse-owning, six-figure salary earning South Mumbai resident might be expected to speak. (For those out of Mumbai, these two worlds are poles apart).
Imagine if you will Neil Nitin Mukesh playing a street fighter who, while on an errand for a local goon, is involved in a hit-and-run, injuring his neighbour Pinky Patkar (Padukone), a dancer who has dreams of making it big.
As a result of the accident, Pinky becomes blind and a guilt-ridden Nandu (Mukesh) decides to teach her to “see”, training her to listen with her remaining senses. He is helped by a motley group of friends (one of whom is strangely called ‘chaddi’)
Ken Ghosh’s “Chance Pe Dance” is not what you would call an original
film, choosing to tell the age-old tale of a struggling actor looking
for a chance to make it in Bollywood. From the first scene, you can
predict exactly how the story is going to go.
That said, a lot of films do tell oft-repeated tales. But many of them
do it with such panache and imagination that you are hooked all the
same. Like last week’s “Pyaar Impossible”, “Chance Pe Dance” doesn’t
pass this test.
I am a bit wary when filmmakers announce Bollywood projects based on real life people. After all, the word Bollywood evokes images of glitzy song-and-dance routines in exotic locales. And that’s largely true even though the Mumbai film industry is showing signs of opening up to bolder, more realistic themes.
Take “Rave Party” for example. The story of Scarlett Keeling, the British teenager murdered at a Goan beach, is being made into a film.